Plagiarism Statement


32.1  The University's degrees and other academic awards are given in recognition of a student's personal achievement. All work submitted by students for assessment is accepted on the understanding that it is the student's own effort.

32.2  Plagiarism is defined as the submission or presentation of work, in any form, which is not one's own, without acknowledgement of the sources. Plagiarism includes inappropriate collaboration with others. It is important to note that inappropriate collaboration with others includes inappropriate interaction with any other student, outside agency, website or software that generates assessment responses. Special cases of plagiarism can arise from a student using their own previous work (termed auto-plagiarism or self-plagiarism).  Self-plagiarism includes using work that has already been submitted for assessment at this University or for any other academic award.

32.3  The incorporation of material without formal and proper acknowledgement (even with no deliberate intent to cheat) can constitute plagiarism. Work may be considered to be plagiarised if it consists of:­

  • a direct quotation;
  • a close paraphrase;
  • an unacknowledged summary of a source;
  • direct copying or transcription.

With regard to essays, reports and dissertations, the rule is: if information or ideas are obtained from any source, that source must be acknowledged according to the appropriate convention in that discipline; and any direct quotation must be placed in quotation marks and the source and page number cited immediately. Any failure to acknowledge adequately or to cite properly other sources in submitted work is plagiarism. Under examination conditions, material learnt by rote or close paraphrase will be expected to follow the usual rules of reference citation otherwise it will be considered as plagiarism. Schools should provide guidance on other appropriate use of references in examination conditions.

32.4  Plagiarism is considered to be an act of fraudulence and an offence against the University Code of Student Conduct. Alleged plagiarism, at whatever stage of a student's studies, whether before or after graduation, will be investigated and dealt with appropriately by the University.

32.5   The University reserves the right to use systems, such as similarity checking software, to assist with the detection of plagiarism in the interests of improving academic standards when assessing student work. Such systems may be externally based.


32.6  Where a student is suspected of plagiarism[1] the member of staff shall refer the case to the Head of School[2] or their nominee (hereinafter referred to as Head of School) along with all appropriate documentary evidence (the piece of work in question duly marked-up, a copy of the original source(s) of the plagiarism, the referral form, etc.). Any further consideration of that piece of work by the School shall be held in abeyance until the procedures set out below have been completed. The student shall be informed in writing that their marks have been withheld pending an investigation of suspected plagiarism. As part of any such investigation the University may review previously assessed material and rescind published marks or grades if necessary.

32.7  The Head of School shall assess the extent of the suspected plagiarism and, if necessary, consult with the Student Conduct Team. The Head of School will deal with suspected cases concerning non-Honours undergraduate students that are first offences and not considered to be severe. The Head of School will refer all Honours and postgraduate level cases, all suspected second offences, and cases of severe plagiarism directly to the Student Conduct Team for investigation under the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct.

32.8  Whilst there is no definitive list, examples of cases which would be regarded as severe plagiarism include:

i) any case of serious and or blatant plagiarism when considered in relation to the student's level of study and length of exposure to the procedures, practices and regulations of the University;

ii) a first offence where a reduction in marks would put at risk the student's degree or direct progression;

iii) any case, regardless of extent, where it is inappropriate to deal with it within a School.

Procedure before the Head of School

32.9  At all times the principles of natural justice shall be observed.

32.10 With respect to undergraduate non-Honours cases that are first offences and not considered to be severe, the Head of School shall interview the student concerned. They should also interview any students who have allegedly allowed their work to be copied. As soon as practicable, the student will be informed in writing of the alleged offence and of the requirement to attend for interview. The student will also be provided with a copy of the marked-up piece of work in advance of the interview.

32.11 The student shall have the right to be accompanied, assisted or repre­sented at the interview by one of the following: a parent or guardian; a fellow student or other friend; an Adviser from the Students' Representative Council Advice Centre; a member of University staff, or any person. At the beginning of the interview, the Head of School will ascertain who is to be the spokesperson for the student (the student or a representative). The foregoing notwithstanding, the Head of School shall have the right to question the student directly, where necessary.

32.12 The Head of School shall have a member of support staff present to keep a record of the meeting.

32.13 At the interview, the student will be shown a copy of their work, duly marked-up and be given a clear explanation of what they have allegedly done. The student will be given the opportunity to justify the work and be invited to admit or deny responsibility.

32.14 If the Head of School is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that an offence has occurred they may impose an academic penalty, which will take account of the extent of the plagiarism. The Head of School may reduce the marks or results up to the point where the academic rating for the piece of work in question is reduced to grade H. Consideration will also be given to resubmission opportunities; the maximum mark that can be awarded to any resubmission is the pass mark appropriate to the degree programme being followed. The student shall be given instruction about plagiarism and the necessity of properly acknowledging and referencing sources.

If it is judged that the case is of a more serious nature than first believed, the Head of School may refer the case onwards for consideration by the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct.

32.15 If the Head of School is not satisfied that an offence has occurred but considers that the student has engaged in poor academic practice then the student should receive a warning, instruction about plagiarism and the necessity of properly acknowledging and referencing sources.

32.16 The student will be notified in writing of the outcome by the School. The School will send a copy of this letter to the Student Conduct Team to be kept on record. The existence of a record for a particular student will be made known to any other School seeking to assess the seriousness of other issues (see §32.6 and §32.7).

32.17 If it is judged that there is no case for the student to answer, the student will be informed in writing and the piece of work in question will be marked in accordance with normal arrangements, without penalty. The Student Conduct Team does not need to be notified of such instances. 

32.18 The Head of School shall inform the Board of Examiners of any reduction in marks. The Board of Examiners shall not have the authority to revisit or alter academic penalties imposed by this process.

Right of Appeal

32.19 The student shall have the right of appeal to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct in respect of any penalty imposed by the Head of School. A student who wishes to appeal must do so in writing to student-conduct@glasgow.ac.uk within 10 working days of the date of the issue of the written decision of the Head of School.

32.20 The Senate Assessors for Student Conduct will consider an appeal against the penalty imposed by a Head of School only on the grounds that:

i) new evidence has emerged which could not reasonably have been produced to the Head of School;

ii) there has been defective procedure at the Head of School level;

iii) the penalty imposed by the Head of School was clearly un­reasonable.

The letter of appeal must clearly specify the details of any new evidence, the manner in which the procedures were defective or in what respects they believe the Head of School has erred or been mistaken in imposing a penalty. The letter should also specify the remedy that the student seeks.

Plagiarism in the Work of a Graduate

32.21 The University will investigate any suspected case of plagiarism in the work of a graduate, which has already been assessed for an award of the University, to determine if the nature and extent of the plagiarism had been material to the award of the degree, diploma or certificate, or class within the degree.

32.22 All such cases will be considered as severe plagiarism. The Head of School will conduct an investigation and refer the case to the Student Conduct Team in accordance with §32.7.

[1] If a student suspects a fellow student of plagiarism then they should speak to a member of staff in the School concerned. The identity of the student making the report shall remain confidential.

[2] Where the Head of School has a potential conflict of interest (e.g. teaches or examines on the course concerned) then they should pass the case to another senior member of academic staff in the School. In the case of small Schools, where it may not be possible to pass the case to another senior member of academic staff, the case should be passed to the Head of a cognate School.

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